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Unbound (The Captive #7)
Author:Erica Stevens

Reluctantly, he released Aria from his grasp. He couldn’t keep her against him and defend her at the same time. Aria kept her back to his as she spun away and released a new volley of arrows into the hearts of the vampires closing in on them.

“William!” she shouted. “I need your arrows!”

Rolling over with Tempest, William lifted Tempest to her feet with an arm around her waist. He pushed her down to a crouched position and remained bent over her as he ran toward Aria through the stream of arrows flying across the small clearing. Braith grabbed two vampires closing in on him and bashed their skulls together before tearing the head off one and using the body of the other to beat back a vamp who lunged at Aria.

Knowing that his sister was better with a bow and arrow than he was, William tossed Aria his quiver and pushed Tempest down so she knelt in the center of the three of them. “Make sure they all count,” he said to Aria.

“I always do,” she murmured and took out two more vampires.

“Stay close to me,” Braith commanded them. “We have to move toward the others.”

Tempest rose in the center of them as Braith backed them steadily toward where Jack was trying to defend Hannah. No matter how hard he fought the influx of vamps closing in on him, the vampires were steadily overrunning his brother. Jack released a furious shout when an arrow pierced straight through his right calf and out the other side.

Around them, the men and women of the king’s guard were falling. There were only two left and they’d been separated and surrounded. There would be no getting them out of here, but Braith would get the others to safety if it was the last thing he did. Steadily pushing them back, he kept his body in between theirs and the main influx of white-cloaked vampires encroaching on them.

Reaching where Xavier lay, Braith took hold of his arm and helped him to his feet. The arrow was still embedded straight through his throat, and fire burned in Xavier’s eyes when they met Braith’s.

Through the turmoil surrounding them, Braith spotted the woman once more, smiling as she watched the bloodshed. I’ll enjoy killing her. As soon as they were out of this mess and Aria was somewhere safe, he would hunt this woman down and destroy her.

Aria cried out from behind him, the scent of her blood filled the air. Red shaded his vision as he spun to find her tearing an arrow from her chest. William grabbed for her, but Braith seized her arms first, dragging her toward him.

So close. It had been so close to her heart. Saliva dripped from his fangs as he roared in fury.

“Braith, I’m fine!” Aria blurted.

His head tilted up, his gaze locked on the woman across from him. He hadn’t felt this encompassing, insatiable need to kill since his father and Caleb had dared to hurt her, but it was there now.

He would make that woman pay for this if it was the last thing he did. He dragged Aria against his chest, cradling her there. The flow of her blood wet his shirt before he released her. Spinning at the sound of footsteps, he drove his fist into the chest of the vampire running toward him. He enclosed his hand around the vamp’s heart, tore it from his chest, and discarded it on the ground.

Tempest stomped on the heart as William swung out with his bow and caught the next vampire under the chin with it. The scent of Aria’s blood burning into his nostrils fueled Braith’s wrath. A fresh wave of arrows unleashed, and cries of pain filled the air as more of them found their targets and the last of the king’s guard fell.

Braith dodged to the side and snagged an arrow out of the air that would have pierced through his chest. He handed it to William who set it against his bow and fired to take out a vamp leaping at Xavier. The vamp fell and Xavier tore the arrow in his throat free. Blood pooled from the hole in his throat as another arrow pierced through his shoulder.

“Xavier!” Aria’s hands slid under his armpits to catch him before he crumpled to the ground.

“Arianna!” Braith shouted and lurched toward her when two other vamps ran at her.

Red filled her blue eyes, and she fell back as the vampires grabbed at her arms. Braith grasped the arm of one, placed his foot into the vampire’s chest, and tore back with enough force to rend muscle and bone from the vampire who howled his agony. Braith used the arm to bash in the cheek of the next one, before thrusting his hand into the vamp’s chest and tearing his heart free.

Xavier stumbled to his feet, wrapped his arms around Aria’s waist, and launched them both backward into the snow seconds before the tip of a sword would have sliced her head from her shoulders. Braith thrust his hand out to grip the blade of the sword; he ignored the biting sting of the metal cutting deep into his palm as he jerked it from the vampire’s hands.